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Building with aspen cordwood  RSS feed

 
Lisa Gergets
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Location: Grand Marais, MN
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I need your advice about aspen. We have about 40 sixty-foot-high aspens that we'll be using for our cordwood. We haven't taken them down yet, as we just closed on our five acres on July 17th, and still have about another two weeks of land clearing before we can begin felling. When we do take them down, we'll be sawing them into 20-inch sections for our walls.

Questions that I would love to have answered:

Split or whole for cordwood?

How to lay them out for drying over the winter?

What to look out for in terms of bugs, rot, mildew, etc.

Easiest way to debark - whole log or 20-inch sections?

And anything else you can think of in terms of advice...

It seems that aspen is the choice for many because of it's easy availability in most places...let's make this a comprehensive aspen thread!
 
Bryant RedHawk
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Location: Vilonia, Arkansas - Zone 7B/8A stoney, sandy loam soil pH 6.5
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split will dry faster and thus be ready for use sooner.
split will fit closer together for a more structurally sound wall in the end.
to dry any wood, the more air between layers the better so square stack the 20 inch sections like Lincoln logs without the notches.

Barking is easier when the log is whole and freshly cut. Spring is the best time for felling trees you want to bark, the new sap loosens the bark from the wood so it is easier to peel.
Use a barking spud or a draw knife for the easiest removal of bark. You will need to have log cradles to hold the logs up to ease the back (not so bent over for long periods).

I would find some cattle troughs to fill with a borax solution to soak the sections in for around a week, then air dry them before using in construction.
This will prevent most bugs and it will prevent fungi from making your wood a nice home.

Pinus species are the usual preference for cord wood construction spruce, pine, juniper, cedar are all fairly rot resistant species.
Aspen, when soaked in the borax solution will last at least as long as the above species.

Redhawk
 
Lisa Gergets
Posts: 48
Location: Grand Marais, MN
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Bryant RedHawk wrote:

I would find some cattle troughs to fill with a borax solution to soak the sections in for around a week, then air dry them before using in construction.
This will prevent most bugs and it will prevent fungi from making your wood a nice home.



RedHawk, what does the solution consist of - how much borax does it take to be effective at eliminating the mildew and bugs?
 
Walt Chase
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Location: ALASKA
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Lisa Gergets wrote:
Bryant RedHawk wrote:

I would find some cattle troughs to fill with a borax solution to soak the sections in for around a week, then air dry them before using in construction.
This will prevent most bugs and it will prevent fungi from making your wood a nice home.



RedHawk, what does the solution consist of - how much borax does it take to be effective at eliminating the mildew and bugs?


There is a commercial product called IIRC Timbor.  It is used in teh logging/sawmilling industry to help prevent insect damage.  A quick google search should turn up some home made versions or a supplier of the product.
 
Bryant RedHawk
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I use one box of Borax Laundry Soap to 50 gallons of water, this fills the trough I have with enough room for 2x4 and 2x6 materials to soak. My trough is 10 feet long, I mix the solution in the trough, add the wood I need to soak then add water to cover an inch over the wood.

I made my own trough by making wood ends and using caulk and screws to fasten/ seal these to a piece of flat roofing metal I got from a dealer who forms roofing metal at his shop.
I may build a second one eventually that is longer so I am not limited to the 10 foot length.
For chord wood I would buy a water trough (they can be bought in black rubberized material for around 60 dollars for a fairly large one) since you want your wood already cut to length when you soak it.

This is the site for the Tim-bor company products tim-bor
I don't use it since the borax treatment works quite well for me, have not had any termite damage or fungus infection in any of the wood I have treated with it and most of this wood is in ground contact.


Redhawk
 
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